@karriehiggins (Karrie’s blog) took a play on words from a conversation we’d been having about an old Twilight Zone episode that still haunts me from way back, Talking Tina. Karrie said, “@EVictoriaF Keep “whiskey money doll” in mind for your #throwme on Thursday because that seriously kind of rocks.” And “@EVictoriaF whiskey, money, doll / whiskey money, doll / whiskey-money doll / whiskey money-doll / #throwme”
I see the appeal, but I did not expect what I got.
Also, if I could before you go on–last week I forgot to give the address for Julie Jeff’s Blog. Please do stop by and chat her up. She’s a lovely woman with a lot of heart.
I can’t help but think of Dad–whiskey sour, NRA lifetime member, the original Old Spice man on a trail-riding horse singing, On Top of the World in a dusty, gravel road voice. He wore a mustache always. Now, it’s shock white.
He drove the truck down highways taking photographs of straight, tall churches on weekends when I turned fourteen. He had a dog named Butch. Remarried a good woman who smokes.
When I was a kid and believed in everything, Dad came home on his lunch breaks between jobs, Ma cooked, and I slid up on his lap waiting for him to take a quarter from my ear. We ate spinach warmed from the freezer–a great green lump thumped in a pan melting into summer lawns shaded by trees he planted years before me.
I hid cars in his boots.
Just right now, these thoughts lighten me–old memories replayed like worn vinyl records skipping popcorn skips on the B-side. I can see into the kitchen, hear water splash in the copper-bottom pan.
Later, I slept in a double bed next to Sherry. She hated how I rolled and took the covers. I sucked the index finger on my left hand. When I fell asleep, it tipped out, and I slurped. The sound drove her nuts. She wanted me to just shut up.
I didn’t know what they were, the sounds. The light was on in the hall. In the dining room, too. Doors slammed. Ma’s voice. Then Dad’s.
Louder. I took the covers. Kicked my feet. I hate wearing socks to bed, so I didn’t.
It was like somebody was having a tantrum in the house, but it wasn’t somebody, it was my parents, together, having a tantrum. I would have been sent to my room. I’d have kicked my feet on the wall hard, harder, hardest, but they’d have ignore me. They’d have waited it out. They had heard it all before. It’s called extinction.
But me, I hadn’t heard it all before. On that night, I was tiny and five years old. I got a puppy for my birthday. His name was Bear and he was a golden retriever. He was also an outside dog most of the time. We didn’t have that kid/dog relationship because he didn’t sleep on my feet. He would have been better than socks, I’m sure.
I tried not to, but I cried. I tried not to, because the night Dad came home and I was crying for Ma to let me do something and she wouldn’t, he looked at me in the eyes and said, “What are you crying for?” And I huffed, and I sobbed, and I told him with words that were hardly words at all and he said, “Well crying ain’t going to change anything. You might as well stop that.” And I tried to stop, not knowing how anybody stops crying, certain as anything that crying did fix everything.
That night, he took me with him to Walgreen’s and let me pick out a book with a soft cover in the shape of a little golden retriever puppy with its tongue hanging out. It was almost as good as Dunkin’ Donuts, but not quite.
So I tried in that bed with the covers pulled up around me and my sister lying next to me quiet as anything, I tried not to cry, but I did. I cried and my body shook. My pillow got wet with spit and tears. My feet pulled in and I shrunk down as tight as I could fit inside myself. Then Sherry rolled over and curled herself around.